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Panasonic HD-PLC - electric broadband

Panasonic's BL-PA100KT adapter kit uses the HD PLC standard for networking via electricity

We've been writing about using domestic electrical wiring to deliver high-speed data for some time. Panasonic today announced a commercial product to do exactly that.

Rather than conform to the HomePlug standard, Panasonic's BL-PA100KT adapter kit (¥20,000, £89) uses a rival technology known as HD-PLC to transmit data at up to 190Mbit/s around the home.

Setup appears simple - plug the master adapter into a secluded wall socket and connect your broadband router or modem. Then plug the supplied terminal (i.e. destination) adapter into a power socket wherever your PC is and connect the two with a LAN cable.

Further terminal adapters can be set up by connecting them to the same power outlet as the master adapter and pressing a button on each to pair them, which is about as simple as anything gets these days.

High security, high stability

One advantage over Wi-Fi is that HD-PLC uses 128-bit encryption for added security. The main draw is likely to be that using the power circuits makes for rock-solid connections with no drop-out or signal fading. And the 190Mbit/s rating (around 80-90Mbit/s in real-world terms) can be used to stream HD video.

President of Panasonic Communications, Kazuyoshi Fujiyoshi, put his finger on the appeal of the new technology: "Our new adapter eliminates unsightly wiring from the living room, study, bedroom and other rooms in the house and gives the not-so-technically-inclined person the power to instantly set up and enjoy the benefits of a secure home LAN."

The new equipment goes on sale in Japan on 9 December and is likely to go global next year, where it will face competition from HomePlug AV and Netgear's similar DS2 technology.